Nothing effects growth or failure in the workplace more so than drama amongst the team. Drama presents itself in many formats across the workplace. It can evolve from good-ole-fashioned gossip, rumors that float around unchecked, or colleagues having personal differences. Any form of drama creates an uncomfortable, unfriendly and most importantly an unproductive atmosphere. If you are a leader in-charge of creating a great atmosphere or a manager tasked with stopping any flow of drama around the office, consider the following methods of being proactive rather than reactive in heading off these damaging circumstances.
STEP 1: CLEARLY DEFINE ROLES
Drama most often arises when team members are not sure of their specific roles and goals in the workplace. If you don’t currently have a detailed job description in place, develop some as soon as possible. These descriptions should outline whom each person reports to, which tasks are connected with each position as well as the kind of authority and decision-making ability each person has. It’s also advisable to make each job description public so everybody is conscious of what they require.
STEP 2: MAKE IT YOUR POLICY
The most effective way to stop drama at work is to catch it early in the conflict stage before it grows to be a more significant problem. Consider a comprehensive change to your policy and procedural handbook(s), something that lays out the intention of the policy, any specific instances that are intolerable to your organization as well as your company’s policy for how it will handle these issues.
STEP 3: YOU MUST STOP GOSSIP QUICK!
As soon as any report comes in, of any form of gossip rearing its ugly head, you must act, you must put a stop to it. If you can narrow gossip down to the key people implicated, you can then guide & counsel them independently to stop the spread of negativity or misinformation. If rumors turn into widespread gossip, address it at a staff meeting or via uniform internal communications, reminding your staffers that gossip of a personal nature will not be tolerated in the workplace.
STEP 4: END THE RUMOR FACTORY
The typical company “rumor mill” involves quickly shared info about office problems or issues. Oftentimes details are disclosed about downturns, layoffs, demotions, the reason for new hires or undeserved promotions, and that’s when your folks begin to talk. You can either halt the bad buzz by being candid with your staff about company news that impacts them directly, or you could let it fester with the chance of never getting the team back on track. Check with your immediate manager about what forms of corporate info can be given out to employees in an attempt to provide straightforward information that will leave employees with little or nothing to wonder about.
STEP 5: PERSONALLY OVERSEE RESOLVING DISPUTES
For the most effective curtailing of drama around your workplace, try mediating conflict resolution between the people who create drama. This usually involves allowing each person to have his or her say and then clearly re-defining your company’s position on the issue and the path moving forward. If you are not available to handle these instances or not responsible for conflict resolution in your role or capacity, refer the matter to human resources.
STEP 6: DRAMA DOCUMENTATION
In most cases regarding conflict in the workplace, you will have ringleaders, repeat instigators and even professional drama queens in your office, so it’s best to document their ongoing behavior so you can either coach them or let them go with a valid reason. If someone is reprimanded repeatedly for producing drama, it could be cause for action. Detail each instance for your records and for performance reviews.
STEP 7: YOU MUST ENFORCE PENALTIES
The most important thing to do is enforce any and all penalties you and your supervisors consider suitable to end drama in the workplace, but do it 100% of the time. If you have a stated policy, and/or have given warned offenders in the past and/or counseled them on their behavior, it’s definitely time to take action. Like with all laws in the real world, following through on these reprimands, including suspending or terminating employees in many cases, will ensure other employees believe that your company is serious about maintaining a truly drama-free workplace.
STEP 8: LEAVE IT TO THE EXPERTS
All companies who care about maintaining a positive working environment, should consider inviting a conflict expert or workplace behavioral professional into your business for coaching or training on creating a drama-free atmosphere. Workforces may be uninformed of how their actions impact others and experts may be able to give your staff and colleagues the tools they require to help stop future drama.
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About the Author: Lalanii Wilson-Jones, MBA is a dynamic business leader based in Dallas, Texas who owns & operates multiple companies across several industries. Her range of talents and experience makes her an ideal candidate for strong economic partnerships all over the world, a great mentor and a great source of information that can change the mechanics of any sized company.
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